As a purchasing professional, you know that sourcing goods and services for your organization is no easy task. It's a multi-step process that includes a lot of research and supplier evaluation before a final decision is made. The last thing you want is to sign a contract and immediately regret it. The same holds true for a vending management program.
As you would approach any other vendor, you have to understand your company's needs as they relate to a snack and beverage program, conduct proper research, then decide which supplier is best for your company. Use the guide below to help manage the process of selecting the right vending management service.
A Purchasing Manager's Guide to Procuring a Vending Management Program
There are a variety of food and beverage programs for companies to choose from. Some organizations purchase wholesale products and offer them to employees for free, some use cafeterias, and others stick with vending machines.
The size and structure of your company will largely determine what approach you take. With vending, a national program is an ideal choice for companies that have multiple properties because it consolidates all your vending needs into a single account that is managed by industry professionals.
As with any service you source for your company, you want the same degree of trust, quality, and reliability from your vending management company. To ensure that's what you get, start with proper research.
Research Your Needs and the Different Services Available
Is a vending management program right for your business?
Are store locations on-board with the idea?
Which service should you choose?
These are questions you need to ask before beginning your research. The purpose of a vending management company (VMC) is to consolidate your vending machine services into a national account. A central contact for all your vending needs helps property managers stay focused on their core responsibilities and increases vending revenue.
But not every business is a good candidate for a vending management program.
For example, if your company has fifty locations across the country, but only ten employees at each property, it's likely that sales volume in the vending machines will be an issue. Without sales, a vending management company will not be able to guarantee equipment for each location.
There are several vending management companies to choose from. When deciding which one to use, it's important to fully understand what differentiates them from one another and make sure they are a good fit for your organization.
What to Look for in a Vending Management Company
1. Flexibility. A good vending program can adapt to the changing needs and demands of the market place. Do you want a soda-only program? What about healthy snacks? Do most employees favor Coke products over Pepsi? Whatever your desires, a VMC should be flexible enough to provide what you need.
2. Reporting. One of the core tenants of a national vending program is consolidating the commissions into a single check. This makes revenue more useful, as it comes in one large sum instead of dozens of small checks. Quarterly commission statements that break down the sales and revenue earned from every single machine should accompany your commission check.
3. Customer Service. Like any service you procure for your business, customer support needs to be exceptional. Availability and reliability are essential to a successful vending management program. Vending machines are fickle, and there will almost certainly be a service or refill issue. It's how the problem is solved (and how quickly) that makes all the difference.
4. Strong Vendor Relationships. A VMC relies on a national network of preferred suppliers to service locations. Therefore, it's essential the partnerships with those suppliers are healthy. Toxic relationships are never productive, and only result in problems.
Work Together to Foster a Strong Partnership
Once you've decided on vending management service to use, it's important to continue to develop a positive relationship that includes mutual trust, understanding, and respect for one another.
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